Library Services for a New Age: Transforming Libraries into Centers for Boomer Learning and Community
Diantha Schull writes:
On October 1, I was delighted to work with Susan Irving, 2006 Lifelong Access Fellow, and Hagar Shirman, LFF’s Massachusetts EqualAccess Program Manager, to offer a preconference on Library Services for a New Age: Transforming Libraries into Centers for Boomer Learning and Community at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference co-sponsored by the Kentucky Library Association, KSMA, SELA, and the Association of Research Libraries. Held in Louisvile, Kentucky, the preconference attracted a diverse and motivated group, including adult program specialists, branch managers, library trustees, public reference librarians and academic librarians from such locations as Baton Rouge, Louisville, Atlanta, Lexington and Scott County Library in Georgetown, Kentucky. Participants contributed throughout the session, discussing the need for new approaches to working with active older adults and exchanging ideas for programs, partnerships and “branding.”
Lifelong Access Fellow Susan Irving gave an exceptional presentation on the work she has lead in Louisville as Manager of the St. Matthews Eline Library. She described the beginnings of the program, when she attended her first meeting of the Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative and her participation in the 2006 Lifelong Access Institute. From there, she worked with leaders of 4 local organizations that were already using the library on a regular basis, to design and experiment with programs that would engage older adults from across the community. She outlined the programming philosophy—innovate, inform, involve—and showed examples of the program series that have evolved over two years, including “Aging Well” Programs, “Community Conversations,” “Puzzle Play” and “Want to Talk About It?”. Each program involves a partner organization. According to Susan, the library now has more partners than it can accommodate, and a waiting list besides. She believes that programming for boomers has given her library and her community “an anchor” that continues to grow.
We know many other Lifelong Access Fellows are organizing programs to inform colleagues about Lifelong Access. Please let us know if you are presenting or participating in workshops about 50+ services!